Christa’s Quilt Along 3.9 – Finishing Charming Chevrons

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I’ve come to the end of my Charming Chevrons tutorial and it’s kind of sad. I really loved every minute of making this quilt! Today I will demo binding. Scroll to the end for links to the previous steps plus my announcement for my next DIY quilt-along starting next week!

Charming Chevrons Quilt

Christa’s Charming Chevrons

If you like this quilt and want to make one just like it, Charming Chevrons quilt kits are available from my shop for a limited time.

Step 1 – Trimming The Edges (10 Minutes)

When the quilting has been completed and all of your basting pins removed, it’s time to trim the extra backing and batting and square up your quilt.


Use a large square ruler for the corners and a long 6 to 8 inch wide ruler for the sides. The markings on the ruler help keep things nice and even. I use the long lines to make sure I am cutting straight.

If the quilt seems a little wavy, I will block it at the end after binding by soaking it in the washing machine, and laying it out flat on a table to dry. (I do this only if I know for sure the fabrics won’t bleed when wet – I’ve had way too many “accidents.”)

Step 2 – Making the Binding Strips (15 Minutes)

Binding 2I sew continuous double fold straight grain binding strips that I make myself.

Cut enough 2 1/4″ wide strips to go around the perimeter plus about 10 extra inches.

For this quilt I cut a total of 7 strips that measured 2 1/4″ by the width of the fabric (40″-42″).

Join the strips together on a mitered (45 degree) angle to smooth out the seam formed by sewing the strips.

Join all the strips together so that you have one continuous piece with the joined seams all going the same direction.

At the beginning of the binding, cut off one end at a 45 degree angle. Then press the binding in half lengthwise (press seam allowances open).

Angled Binding

Press Binding

Step 3 – Attaching the Binding to the Quilt by Machine (35 Minutes)

Sewing the BindingLeave a few inches of a “tail” unsewn when you begin.

Do not start at a corner, and quickly measure your binding around the perimeter of the quilt to ensure it is long enough.

Try not to end up where you have any of your seams in the corners. Adjust your start if needed.

Use a matching cotton thread in the top and bobbin and use the same thread to finish your binding (whether by hand or machine).

Using a walking foot, sew with 1/4″ seam allowances and stop when you reach exactly 1/4″ inch from the end of your first corner. Take the quilt off the machine and fold the corner like the pictures below. This will create nice crisp mitered corners when you fold them over.

Click on the pictures below to see a larger version for more detailed closeups.

Stop at Corner

Fold Up

Fold Down

Repeat for all corners of the quilt and leave a few inches of “tail” when you near the end.

Binding EndOpen up both folded ends and with a pen, mark where the beginning meets the end.

Cut off the excess 1/2″ away from the marked line (for seam allowances) and join the two ends together.

You can see I cut off a full extra strip’s length of binding but just barely!

It’s better to have too much length than not enough!

Once your ends are joined, finish  sewing down the binding completely to the front of the quilt.

Step 4 – Hold the Binding in Place With Pins or Glue  (30 Minutes)

To baste the binding in place on back, I usually use pins and Pinmoors.  However, for this quilt, I wanted to try a glue pen to temporarily adhere the binding to the back of the quilt.  It worked like a charm and I got to see what the quilt looked like before it was done. I was even able to glue the corners in place to form a pretty miter. That will be much easier to sew!

Glue Stick

Step 4 – Finish by Hand or Machine (Hand Sewing 5 Hours)

Whether I finish my binding by hand or machine, the above steps are still the same. Because I finished this quilt for QuiltCon (and possibly other quilt shows), I chose to sew by hand.  So I got nice and comfy on the couch and watched a couple movies while I stitched away.

Binding by Hand

For more info on both types of finishes, you can read my post about hand-binding and my machine binding tutorial.

Charming Chevrons Tutorials. Click the links below to go to that post.

Here are Charming Chevron’s Vital Statistics

  • Original design, pieced and quilted by Christa Watson
  • Finished size 46″ x 54″, completed November 2012
  • Finished block size 8″, 42 blocks total
  • Made from 4 packs of Kona Cotton charm squares (2 New Classic colors, 2 Ash grey)
  • Pieced backing, shades of grey with pops of color
  • Double batting (Warm-N-Natural and Legacy Wool)
  • Superior Highlights trilobal polyester in top and bobbin  for pebbles (18 colors)
  • Isacord Sterling polyester in top and bobbin for chevron outlines
  • Total piecing time: 9.5 hours
  • Marking and basting: 2.5 hours
  • Total quilting time: 28 hours
  • Total binding time: 6.75 hours

Sharing is Caring

Please share your work in progress in my facebook group: Quilt With Christa . 🙂

Christa’s Quilt Along 3.8 – Quilting Chevrons Part 2

I love quilting pebbles! I have stippled my quilts like crazy for the last 10 years, but just recently got the hang of pebbling. Jut in time,  too, as I was on stipple burnout!!

Pebble Quilting

The time it took to finish the pebbling on my Charming Chevrons quilt was a little ridiculous though – it took 23 hours!! Yes, that’s right. The pebbling took more time to do than every other part of the quilt combined. It gives new meaning to the term Quilt-in-a -Day, LOL!!

Since I don’t really expect everyone to spend that much time quilting this quilt, I will first talk about pebbling in more detail, but then give you an alternative so that you can actually finish this quilt. (But by all means do the pebbling if your heart desires – mine did!)

Step 1 – Doodle on Paper First

Just like you had to learn your alphabet before you could write, so it is with quilting any FMQ (free-motion quilting) design. When I was in kindergarten my penmanship was terrible! (And it hasn’t really improved much since!) You need to practice your quilting “penmanship”, too!

Paper Practice

If you doodle on scraps of paper every day before you begin quilting, it will help you develop muscle memory between what you are drawing with your hands and what you are stitching out on the quilt. This will form a mind body connection so that eventually you will be able quilt without thinking. Think of FMQ as drawing with your sewing needle.

Step 2 – Practice on Scraps Next

I took a few FMQ classes at Road to California 2 years ago. For most of the class, we just made practice samples. If you really want the feeling of completing FMQ on a quilt, practice on charity quilts. You will get great practice and the recipients will love your efforts!

Practice Scraps

When I began free-motion quilting, my first efforts looked pretty bad. It took a while for me to put together different combinations of fabric, thread, batting, needles and tension settings. A few quick things I learned while practicing FMQ on my Bernina:

  • Select a needle with a large hole so that the thread doesn’t shred, like Superior Topstich needles. The size depends on the thickness of your thread (size 90 for the heavier polyster thread). Change every 8-12 hours of quilting. I used 3 of them on this quilt.
  • Loosen the bobbin tension slightly.
  • Use the same thread in top and bobbin for most quilts – it hides mistakes and makes for more even tension. I used Superior Highlights polyester in a rainbow of colors.
  • Break your quilting up into sections and don’t rush the process. Although it took a long time to quilt my pebbles, it really worked out to about 33 minutes per chevron block.  Quilting one block a day is not a bad goal.
  • Use a free motion slider, quilting gloves, and bobbin washers for the best quilting combo.
  • It’s Ok to “travel stitch” over your previous lines to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Step 3 – Apply your practice to your actual quilt

Thread DrawerFor this quilt I changed threads with every fabric color. I never could find a neutral that blended in with everything so I used a total of 18 different colors.

When I didn’t have an exact match, I used something close. It gave the quilt some interest without being overpowering.

I quilted the pebbles in sections first.

I quilted a batch of greens, then oranges, then reds, then blues, etc. This helped me from getting too bored. Usually I like to off each my stitches between thread changes. However, because I stitched over many of my quilting lines to form the pebbles, it hid most of my stops and starts. Therefore, I cheated a little and used really small “anchor” stitches at the beginning and end of each color change to avoid tying off.

Pebble Quilting

Step 4 – Alternative Quilting Motif – Loops

Loop QuiltingIf  you are not crazy like me and don’t want to spend this much time quilting your chevrons, try a simple meandering loop instead.

This is my other “go-to” design and it covers your area pretty quickly. In fact, this motif would look great quilted all over the surface if you want to skip the straight line background quilting.

Here’s a little background quilting I did using loops on an earlier quilt. Click to enlarge.

Because I used so many threads, my quilt back turned out just as colorful as the front!

Chevron Quilt Back

Other Resources

Please visit Leah Day at the Free Motion Quilting Project.  Her blog has so many in-depth tutorials on stitching particular FMQ designs. She has a video tutorial showing how to do pebble quilting and loops.

Yes, it was a little crazy to quilt that much, but honestly, I loved every minute of it! Next week it will be time to finish the binding and then I’ll start on another brand new tutorial. Isn’t this fun?? Be sure to check out my other two quilt-alongs here and here.

And, please continue to email me pictures of your Charming Chevrons quilt. I love to see how you are doing, no matter how you quilt it!

Quilt Along Schedule (Links are active once each step has been completed.)